By Blair Williams, founder of MemberPress

Why did the marketer get off his trampoline? He was worried about his bounce rate!

OK, that joke may have been a little cheesy, but hopefully it got your attention. The point is, when done right, humor is a great way to grab people's attention and stand out from the competition. Humor can make your brand more human and relatable, which will help consumers connect with you. You can inject humor into your social media strategy, email marketing, blog posts -- even your customer service.

But how can your company be funny without seeming like a complete joke? After all, there's a time and place to be funny. You don't want to overload your website with jokes that make your business look unprofessional. So, how can you strike the right balance between hilarious and serious? Here's how to use humor to win your customers' hearts.

Know your audience.

If your humor falls flat with people, they don't get the joke or they find the joke distasteful, it can be a disaster for your company. In order for your jokes to land with customers, and to avoid offending anyone, you have to know your audience. Study your audience and do research into what humor will connect with them the most.

As a rule, avoid making politically charged jokes and stick to humor that a broader audience can laugh at. The last thing you want to do is alienate customers by making an inappropriate joke. As well, avoid making obscure references that will go over the heads of your audience. For instance, if your target audience is teens and young adults, making a joke about 8-track players won't work.

Use humor sparingly.

Some companies can get away with being funny all the time, but those are few and far between. It would probably be overkill to share funny memes on a daily basis. So, use humor sparingly in your marketing. Your funny jokes or hilarious stories will be more memorable to your customers when they aren't accustomed to seeing them every single day.

Your customers want to be inspired and feel awe, joy and empathy -- they even want to feel angry some of the time. That's why it's important to find the right tone for humor and not overdo it. For instance, strike a balance between humor and useful advice; your marketing can make your customers laugh but also give them helpful tips to solve their problems. 

Make it relatable.

When using humor in your marketing, you're not just trying to create deeper relationships with your customers -- you're also trying to make sales. Sharing random jokes might make customers giggle for a moment, but it's not going to get them to pull out their wallets. Customers want to know how your product will change their lives, so make your humor relatable to their lives -- and even their pain points.

As the saying goes, "A joke is a truth wrapped in a smile." Relating to customer pain points is one of the most effective ways to use humor. For instance, think about an alarm clock company that wakes you up with a tantalizing smell instead of an annoying buzzer noise. That company could use the alarm clock sound in a humorous way to win over customers who hate that noise. The humor is not only relatable, but it makes them want to buy the product. Make sure your humor connects with your customers while nudging them toward buying.

How can your business use humor?

Now that you know the basic rules for using humor in your business, you might be wondering how to actually make your customers laugh. You don't necessarily want to throw out random one-liners, nor are you a comedian with a monologue. But there are a number of easy ways to inject humor into your business, even if you're not confident about your funny bone. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Share a funny story that happened in the office.
  • Use funny staff photos or share fun facts about team members on your "about us" page.
  • Share popular memes on social media that you can relate to your business.
  • Create a clever 404 page.
  • Hold a contest for customers where they share their jokes with you.
  • Participate in April Fool's Day with a light, funny prank.
  • Create a fun company character like the GEICO gecko.

Don't be afraid to let customers see your silly side -- it's a great way to create lasting relationships between them and your business.

Blair Williams is the founder of MemberPress, an all-in-one membership website software for WordPress.